On Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky was seen leading the way in the Ukrainian city of Bachmut, before addressing the US Congress the following day. The Ukrainian president made a top-secret trip to the US capital, but how did he do it (almost) unnoticed? What exceptional safety measures were taken for that trip? A reconstruction.
WATCH – Zelenskiy receives a warm welcome in the US Congress and Ukraine’s president promises that Ukraine will never surrender to Russia:
Tuesday December 20, 12:02
After noon, news spread on social media that President Volodymyr Zelensky Tuesday morning (unexpectedly) visited the Ukrainian town of Pachmut. VRT NWS could not independently confirm the visit at the time. Hours later, it was confirmed that the president had indeed traveled to the front line to encourage the troops there. He also presented many awards. By 12:30 p.m., the president had already left town, the spokesman wrote.
Tuesday, December 20, 8:31 p.m
After a visit to Baghmod, the President begins his trip to Washington DC in top secrecy. He travels from the capital Kiev to Poland by night train, the same train that our Prime Minister Alexander de Croux traveled on during his visit to Ukraine. The train he was on was no ordinary train. It is mainly used for government purposes and also has a meeting room, restaurant etc. The train does not run directly from Kiev to the border, but occasionally makes a few stops or takes a different route each time. That way it is very difficult for enemies to sabotage the train journey.
Prime Minister Alexandre de Crouw (Open VLT) and Foreign Minister Hadjah Lahbib on the same train
In Poland, he was spotted (and photographed) in the early hours of Wednesday morning at a train station in the Polish village of Przemysl, across the border from Ukraine. The station is the meeting point for all international rail traffic to Ukraine. It was the first time Zelensky had left the country since the start of the war. He was met by several Chevrolet Suburbans, a vehicle frequently used by US government services.
Footage of the arrival was distributed by the Polish television network TVP24. At that time it became clear that the President of Ukraine was actually traveling to America.
Wednesday December 21, 8:15
At Rzeszow Airport, an hour’s drive from the train station, he takes the plane. It is a heavily guarded airport that plays an important role in the war in Ukraine. The airport serves as an air bridge for transporting large quantities of military and humanitarian equipment to Ukraine. Sometimes the airport is also used for scheduled flights, but these flights take place less and less, certainly since the start of the war.
At the airport, Zelensky boarded a US Air Force aircraft, a Boeing C-40B. The plane may be accompanied by a NATO spy plane and an F-15 fighter jet. Before Zelensky’s plane took off, the spy plane first scanned the area above the North Sea where Russian submarines frequently operate.
The aircraft then flew over Polish, German and British territory. As news of the president’s visit to the United States spread, Zelensky’s flight became one of the most popular routes tracked in the United States. Aircraft radar 24.
Wednesday December 21, 12:00
President Zelensky arrived at Joint Base Andrews (ADW) at 12 noon Belgian time, after a nearly 10-hour flight. It is a United States Air Force base that serves as the home base of the iconic Presidential Boeing Air Force One. The airport is located near the capital Washington DC.
The US Secret Service is waiting for the President of Ukraine. It did not give Zelensky any special treatment, as any head of state traveling to the United States receives that protection.
Thursday, December 22, 3:40 pm
Where and when Zelensky left America was kept secret. It is clear that he is now back in Poland. Zelenski wrote on Twitter that he met Polish President Duda again at Rzeszow Airport.
Thursday, December 22, 5:26 p.m
US President Zelensky has safely arrived in Ukraine after completing his “historic trip”.
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